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Experimental testing of wave energy converter (WEC) controls

February 11th, 2016|Categories: News, Water Power|

U.S. Navy's Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin (MASK) Sandia has begun experimental testing on wave energy converter (WEC) modeling and controls. The test program focuses on model validation and system identification to produce high-quality data for control design of WECs. In partnership with the Navy, Sandia is conducting the tests at the maneuvering and sea-keeping (MASK) basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division (NSWCCD) in Bethesda, MD. The WEC being tested (1/17 scale) is among the largest [...]

A new day: SWiFT reaches rotor mounting milestone

February 10th, 2016|Categories: News, SWIFT, Wind Energy|

Sandia National Laboratories has reached a major milestone by successfully re-mounting a rotor on one of its SWiFT wind turbines, a heavily modified Vestas V27, at the SWiFT facility on January 20, 2016. Wind engineers at SWiFT have been preparing for this event since 2014 when one of the turbines over sped and failed. Since that time, Sandia’s Wind Energy Technologies Department has been evaluating and improving hardware, software, safety systems, procedures, training, and security [...]

Algae Raceway to speed path to biofuels

February 9th, 2016|Categories: News, Transportation Energy|

With the aim of transforming algae into a cost-competitive biofuel, Sandia/California has opened a new facility for further research into algae production. Called the algae raceway, the facility comprises three 1,000-liter ponds outfitted with custom lighting, environmental controls, and advanced monitoring. Several efforts are slated to begin immediately: a project to identify the best performing genetically modified algae strains; a partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory funded by the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) [...]

Sandia Labs high-flux solar simulator with one-of-a-kind capability

February 8th, 2016|Categories: Concentrating Solar Power, News, Research & Capabilities, Solar|

The High-Flux Solar Simulator with automated sample handling and exposure system (ASHES) is a one-of-a-kind capability which can be used 24/7 with metal-halide lamps.  ASHES provides accelerated lifetime aging tests for materials under high-temperature/high-flux conditions.  A robotic sample-handling system can be used to move multiple coupons automatically into and out of the concentrated flux sequentially to expose the samples to predetermined temperatures, fluxes, and/or durations.  The peak irradiance is ~1.1 MW/m2  with an average irradiance of [...]

Sandia and EPRI to host PV symposium in May 2016

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Events, News, News & Events, Photovoltaic, Seminars & Conferences, Solar|

Sandia National Laboratories and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are pleased to host the third PV Systems Symposium, May 9-12, 2016, at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Clara, CA, on technical issues related to photovoltaic (PV) systems and technologies. Core areas of focus will include PV performance modeling, distribution hosting capacity and screening methods, component reliability, as well as data-driven strategies for performing economically efficient system upkeep. Conference website.

NREL and Sandia host PV Module Reliability Workshop, Feb. 23-25, 2016

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Events, News, News & Events, Photovoltaic, Seminars & Conferences, Solar|

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories are jointly organizing the annual PV Module Reliability Workshop. This year’s event, to be held February 23-25, 2016, in Lakewood, CO, will bring together photovoltaics (PV) experts from  national laboratories, industry, and academia to discuss the most recent updates in photovoltaic system reliability and lifetime. Dr. Olga Lavrova will be chairing the PV systems and inverter reliability session. Advanced sign-up for the workshop is highly encouraged as we [...]

Sandia defines solar variability zones

February 6th, 2016|Categories: News, Photovoltaic, Research & Capabilities, Solar|

Sandia Labs has defined solar variability zones by modeling solar variability across the country using a combination of ground measured and satellite derived solar irradiance measurements. The zones represent the magnitude of high-frequency (sub-minute) solar variability—changes in available sunlight—at each location. Photovoltaic (PV) installations in locations with higher solar variability can, all else being equal, lead to larger voltage fluctuations on electric distribution grids than PV installations in areas of low solar variability. Thus, to [...]

Sandia Labs releases wavelet variability model (WVM)

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Modeling, News, Photovoltaic, Solar|

When a single solar photovoltaic (PV) module is in full sunlight, then is shaded by a cloud, and is back in full sunlight in a matter of seconds, a sharp dip then increase in power output will result. However, over an entire PV plant, clouds will often uncover some modules even as they cover others, resulting in only small changes in plant power output. Thus, the power output of a PV plant is smoother than [...]

Sandia Labs Releases New Version of PVLib Toolbox

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Modeling, News, Photovoltaic, Solar|

Sandia has released version 1.3 of PVLib, its widely used Matlab toolbox for modeling photovoltaic (PV) power systems.  The version 1.3 release includes the following added functions: functions to estimate parameters for popular PV module models, including PVsyst and the CEC ‘5 parameter’ model a new model of the effects of solar spectrum on PV module current code to access weather data from NOAA’s Integrated Surface Data network PVLib version 1.3 can be downloaded for [...]

Largest Reduction of Solar Energy in 24 Years Recorded at PSEL Linked to El Niño

February 6th, 2016|Categories: News, Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL), Solar|

Since before 1990, Sandia’s Photovoltaic (PV) System Evaluation Lab (PSEL) has been comprehensively recording solar irradiance data to accompany its outdoor PV testing. The unusual dip in 2015 solar energy at the facility prompted us to notice that other historic dips in the sun’s insolation, or the amount of sunlight shining on the earth, have coincided with the larger El Niño years. Prior to 2015-16, intense El  Niño  conditions occurred in 1991-92, 1997-98, 2004-05, 2009-10. [...]

GridPV Toolbox Version 2 Now Available

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Distribution Grid Integration, News, Photovoltaic|

The GridPV toolbox, co-developed by Georgia Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories, models and simulates the integration of the distributed, or local, power generation into the electric power system. Simulations with this tool can be used to evaluate the impact of solar energy on the distribution system. GridPV Toolbox is a fully-documented set of Matlab functions that can be used to build distribution grid performance models using the open source distribution modeling tool OpenDSS. [...]

Sandia’s Continuously Recirculating Falling-Particle Receiver Placed Atop the Solar Tower

February 6th, 2016|Categories: Concentrating Solar Power, National Solar Thermal Test Facility, News, Solar|

Sandia began first-of-its-kind testing using its continuously recirculating falling-particle receiver atop the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). The falling-particle receiver drops sand-like ceramic particles through NSTTF’s concentrated sunlight beam, capturing and storing the heated particles in an insulated tank. Compared to conventional molten-salt systems, the falling particle receiver creates more available energy and cheaper storage costs with less material needed for heat transfer.  Sandia’s goal is to develop a prototype, cost-competitive falling-particle receiver with [...]

Sandia Labs conducts PV research as part of ARPA-e MOSAIC program

February 5th, 2016|Categories: News, Photovoltaic, Solar|

Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories have initiated a collaboration on Wafer-Level Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaics that reduces the complexity of tracking needs. The team’s innovative approach uses wafer-level micro-concentrators to significantly enhance sunlight concentration onto high-performance III-V micro-PV cells. The concentrator is also a diffuse solar radiation collector, allowing the technology to operate in regions with high levels of diffuse sunlight. The team will use standard semiconductor processes to fabricate the system, ensuring [...]

Sandia’s Distributed Energy Lab Marks FY15 Accomplishments, Adds New Capabilities

February 5th, 2016|Categories: DETL, News, Solar|

Sandia Labs completed a number of enhancements to its Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory (DETL) facility in 2015. Many of the updates extend cyber-security capabilities at DETL, such as Sandia’s ability to configure isolated networks for intrusion detection experiments. The communications-enabled control overlay allows for comprehensive evaluation of cyber vulnerabilities of distributed energy devices (DER) and controllers connected to the internet, fully leveraging Sandia's cybersecurity, controls, and high performance computing expertise. One application of this infrastructure [...]

Sandia researcher David Osborn elected physics fellow

January 21st, 2016|Categories: News|

By Michael Padilla Sandia National Laboratories researcher David Osborn has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Chemical Physics. Election to fellowship in the APS is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership and is recognition by Osborn’s peers of his outstanding contributions to physics. Osborn was honored “for innovative research in multiplexed methods for interrogating chemical kinetics and measurements of the physical chemistry [...]

Subsurface Technology & Engineering Research (SubTER) Internship Opportunities

January 11th, 2016|Categories: Climate, News|Tags: |

Sandia National Laboratories will offer a Subsurface Technology & Engineering Research (SubTER) oriented summer internship mid-May through early August 2016 and focus on subjects including geophysical data processing, tomographic imaging, automatic picking, and ambient seismic interferometry for the purpose of fracture imaging. Intern will process and analyze high frequency active source cross-well seismic data and downhole Digital Acoustic Sensing (DAS) data. Analysis will be targeted toward developing results for publications and/or conference presentations. Internship will [...]

Sandia Publishes New Guide to Assist Homebuilders

January 6th, 2016|Categories: News, News & Events, Solar|

Sandia National Laboratories led a working group on behalf of the DOE SunShot Initiative to develop a guide for communicating the financial benefits of including PV on new homes. The “Solar Basics for Homebuilders: Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership” guide shows new homebuilders how to recover the cost of PV installation upon sale of the home by highlighting the role that appraisers and financiers play in the valuation process. The guide also showcases new [...]

Paper and Presentation at OCEANS2015

December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Conferences, News, Water Power|Tags: |

Carlos Michelen and Ryan Coe recently published results from research comparing various methods for producing short-term (i.e. sea-state specific) extreme response distributions. These methods are needed to statistically quantify the extreme response (e.g., tension in the mooring line of a wave energy converter) based on modeling results. (Note that these results might be obtained using either a physical or numerical model.) The range of methods available to perform this task balance the amount of data [...]

Publication in Ocean Engineering

December 22nd, 2015|Categories: News, Publications, Water Power|Tags: |

The Reference Model Project, supported by the US Department of Energy, provides publically available technical and economic benchmarks for a variety of marine energy converters. This program supported the following publication: D. Bull, “An improved understanding of the natural resonances of moonpools contained within floating rigid-bodies: Theory and application to oscillating water column devices,” Ocean Engineering, vol. 108, pp. 799–812, Nov. 2015. SAND2015-8229 J Abstract: The fundamental interactions between waves, a floating rigid-body, and a [...]

Phase 1 of WEC-Sim Experimental Testing Underway

December 22nd, 2015|Categories: News, Water Power|Tags: |

WEC-Sim Phase 1 testing at the Oregon State University Hinsdale Directional Wave Basin As part of the Wave Energy Converter SIMulator (WEC-Sim) project, Phase 1 of WEC-Sim experimental testing is underway at Oregon State University’s (OSU) Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory. WEC-Sim is an open source code for modeling the rigid-body dynamics and performance of wave energy converters in the time-domain code. For more information about the WEC-Sim code, refer to the WEC-Sim website. [...]